ttff Gala Night
The Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival (ttff) held its formal opening night gala at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA) on September 19.
After the cocktail reception, guests were ushered into the Aldwyn Roberts, Lord Kitchener Auditorium, for the world premier of the film, Green Days by the River, based on the book written by Michael Anthony in 1952. Anthony who made a cameo appearance in the film interacted with guests at the event.
The entire cast along with director Michael Mooleedhar and producer Christian James also strutted on the red carpet.
Green Days won the best TT feature and people’s choice for best feature film narrative at the ttff awards on Tuesday. The film opened to the public on Tuesday.
Another Successful Year for T&T Film Fest
Cast members, production staff and well wishers gathered at the Central Bank Auditorium to celebrate the very best of the Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival 2017, at its awards ceremony on Tuesday evening. After a hectic week of film screenings, talks and panel discussions, folks involved in the film industry got a chance to talk about, cheer on and congratulate the winner and runners-up.
Columbus Communications (Flow) was the festival’s presenting sponsor and its director of marketing Cindy Ann Gatt, said in her short address that the company being proud to see that cinemas were fully booked during the various screenings in Trinidad and in Tobago for the first time.
Filmmaker Michael Mooleedhar proudly walked away with two awards for his Green Days by the River, winning in the Best T&T Feature Film and People’s Choice Best Narrative Feature Film categories.
Local Filmmakers Sweep People’s Choice Awards at ttfilm Festival
T&T films dominated the People’s Choice Awards at the T&T Film Festival Awards ceremony on Tuesday —with the film-viewing audience giving a resounding nod to Oliver Milne’s Salty Dog as the People’s Choice Best Short Film; Shari Petti’s Sorf Hair as People’s Choice Best Documentary and Michael Mooleedhar’s Green Days by the River as People’s Choice Best Narrative Feature. Each received a $5,000 cash prize sponsored by Flow.
It was a great night for Green Days by the River as it also picked up the Jury Award for Best TT Feature Film, with a cash prize of $10,000 sponsored by the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts, a release said.
Another local film getting the Jury’s nod was Maya Cozier’s Short Drop—for Best T&T Short, with a cash prize of $5,000 sponsored by the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts. Scattered by Georgia Popplewell and Karen Martinez won Best T&T Film in Development with a cash prize of $10,000. This BPTT-sponsored Award seeks to support the completion of a local feature film currently in pre-production, which is to be made in this country by a T&T resident or national.
T&T High on Film as Local Filmmakers Sweep People’s Choice Awards
Trinidad and Tobago films dominated the People’s Choice Awards at the trinidad+tobago film festival Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, September 26 with the film-viewing audience giving a resounding nod to Oliver Milne’s Salty Dog as the People’s Choice Best Short Film; Shari Petti’s Sorf Hair as People’s Choice Best Documentary and Michael Mooleedhar’s Green Days by the River as People’s Choice Best Narrative Feature.
Each received a TT$5,000 cash prize sponsored by Flow.
It was a great night for Green Days by the River as it also picked up the Jury Award for Best TT Feature Film, with a cash prize of TT$10,000 sponsored by the Ministry of Community Development, Culture, and the Arts.
Green Days Wins Big at ttff 2017 Awards
The drama Green Days by the River was the big winner on Tuesday night at the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival (ttff) bringing home both best TT feature and people’s choice for best feature film narrative.
The wins were announced at the ttff awards ceremony held at the Central Bank Auditorium, Port of Spain. The film, based on the novel by local writer and historian Michael Anthony, was directed by Michael Mooledhar and produced by Christian James. The coming of age story is set in Mayaro 1952 and is about a teenager named Shellie (Sudai Tafari) who is befriended by a plantation owner named Mr Gidharee (Anand Lawkaran) and falls for his beautiful daughter Rosalie (Nadia Nisha Kandhai).
Trinidad And Tobago Film Festival Awards 2017 Highlights
Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival Highlights.
And the ttff/17 Winners are…
The ttff awards prizes in three categories: jury prizes, people’s choice awards and special awards. The awards ceremony took place on Tuesday 26 September, 2017 at the Central Bank Auditorium in Port of Spain.
BEST FEATURE FILM–NARRATIVE
TT$10,000 / Sponsored by FLOW
- Cargo – Kareem Mortimer, The Bahamas
- El Techo (On the Roof) – Patricia Ramos, Cuba WINNER
- Santa and Andres – Carlos Lechuga, Cuba
- Ultimos Días En La Habana (Last Days In Havana) – Fernando Pérez, Cuba
BEST FEATURE FILM–DOCUMENTARY TT$10,000 / Sponsored by FLOW
- Jeffrey – Yanillys Perez, Dominican Republic WINNER
- Kingston Crossroads – Oliver Becker + Jonas Schaul, Jamaica + Germany
BEST SHORT FILM
TT$5,000 / Sponsored by FLOW
- Con Sana Alegria (With Wholesome Joy) – Claudia Muñoz, Cuba
- Tourments d’amour – Caroline Jules, Guadeloupe/France
- Chocolate – Fernando Peña, Dominican Republic
- Paddlin’ Spirit: A Portrait of the Artist Laura Facey – Amanda Sans, Jamaica
- Féfé Limbe – Julien Silloray, Guadeloupe WINNER
BEST TRINIDAD & TOBAGO FEATURE FILM
TT$10,00 / Sponsored by the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts In competition:
- Moko Jumbie – Vashti Anderson
- Green Days by the River – Michael Mooleedhar WINNER
BEST T+T SHORT FILM
TT$5,000 / Sponsored by the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts
- Short Drop – Maya Cozier WINNER
- Salty Dog – Oliver Milne
- Visibly Me – Nicola Cross
- Temple in the Sea – Kevin Bhall
BEST FILM AS DECIDED BY A YOUTH JURY
TT$5,000 / Sponsored by RBC Royal Bank (Trinidad and Tobago)
- Green Days by the River – Michael Mooleedhar, Trinidad+Tobago
- Moko Jumbie – Vashti Anderson, Trinidad+Tobago
- Reinbou – David Maler + Andrés Cubelo, Dominican Republic
- The Violin Teacher – Sérgio Machado, Brazil
- El Techo – Patricia Ramos, Cuba WINNER
- Keyla – Viviana Gómez Echeverry, Colombia
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS PRIZE
- Cargo – Kareem Mortimer, The Bahamas WINNER
- Between 2 Shores: From Santo Domingo To Pointe-à-Pitre – Mariette Monpierre, Guadeloupe
- Jeffrey – Yanillys Perez, Dominican Republic
BEST EXPERIMENTAL FILM PRIZE
TT$5,000/Sponsored by ttff
- Chaotic Beauty – Di-Andre Caprice Davis, Jamaica WINNER
- Cathedral – Juliette McCawley, Trinidad+Tobago
- Reforget – Volney Smith, Barbados
- Xerox Island – Alex Kelly, Trinidad+Tobago
- A Dress to the Nation – Richard Rawlins, Trinidad+Tobago
- Uncertainty and Failure – Luis Vasquez La Roche/Joanne Helfer, Venezuela/Scotland
BEST T+T FILM IN DEVELOPMENT: SCATTERED- KAREN MARTINEZ + GEORGIA POPPLEWEL
TT$10,000 each / Sponsored by BP Trinidad and Tobago
FUTURE CRITICS PRIZE
TT$5,000 / Sponsored by RBC Royal Bank (Trinidad and Tobago): WINNER KIRK BHAJAN
PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARDS
TT$5,000 each / Sponsored by Flow
BEST FEATURE FILM- NARRATIVE: GREEN DAYS BY THE RIVER, Michael Mooleedhar,
BEST FEATURE FILM- DOCUMENTARY: SORF HAIR, Shari Petti
BEST SHORT FILM: SALTY DOG, Oliver Milne
Back to Freeport by Kirk Bhajan
ttff/17 rbc future critics
The Danish philosopher, Kierkegaard once said, “Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards”. Such a statement is perfectly expressed in the 60 minute film, Back to Freeport, where a man must confront his past in order to move ahead in his life. The plot of the film follows Jamal (played magnificently by Kyle Daniel Hernandez) as he leaves his life in Port of Spain and returns to his childhood home in Freeport.
The first two thirds of Back to Freeport could be considered as one of the most unique survival movies you’ll ever see. There are large stretches of no dialogue as Jamal attempts to make the abandoned house habitable once more. He returns to Freeport as if it were a deserted island, far from the hustle and bustle of city life. He meets a house that has long been dead. Overgrown grass has to be cut. Weather worn walls cry out for a fresh coat of paint. The furniture is broken. The cupboard is bare. At night, candles must be lit as there is no electricity. Jamal’s main goal is to kick start a rusted portable generator much like it was Robinson Crusoe’s goal to start a fire.
We learn a little about Jamal’s neighbours. There’s Narissa (Anna Marie-John), who becomes a source of comfort to Jamal. The major bump in the road to a potential romance is that she’s married. Both actors have amazing chemistry together. You could feel their friendship blossom and the genuine adoration each had for the other. Then there’s the self proclaimed “entrepreneur, developer and community leader”, Rupert Ramlal (played devilishly by Anand Lalkaran). Ramlal serves as a trickster, attempting to snake his way into buying the old house from Jamal.
Back to Freeport is firmly rooted in Naipaulesque sardonic humour. In fact, the book A House for Mr Biswas is prominently featured throughout the film and serves to expound on the themes of self identity, belonging and isolation that Jamal wrestles with. As the film progresses Jamal is plagued by frighteningly real memories of his past as he teeters along the line of sanity.
During the screening for Back to Freeport audience members actively cheered and laughed. When the film reached its sombre ending, there was a hushed silence that filled the theatre. The directing duo of Jian Hennings and Kyle Sahadeo hit their mark in delivering a truly original piece of Trinidadian cinema that will most certainly resonate with audiences nationwide. So get your ticket and take a trip Back to Freeport.
Short Drop by Kirk Bhajan
ttff/17 rbc future critics
There is an understanding in Trinidad and Tobago that all our citizens are born comedians. Our natural talent is finding a way to laugh, no matter how serious the situation. Maya Cozier’s 28 minute film, Short Drop, perfectly illustrates the power of Trini comedy. The plot is simple. Bartholomew, a retired civil servant, takes a drive through Port of Spain in his fossil of a car. He is mistaken for a taxi by a young woman (Shanice) and thus begins his adventure where he meets a colourful cast of characters, all from different walks of life.
Cozier uses the ‘taxi’ ride as a vessel in which themes of classism, homophobia, crime and nostalgia are explored. Whatever character we meet, we learn a little about their motives and reasons for why they are who they are. Despite the heavy subject matter, though, Short Drop is at its heart a comedy. The dialogue is sharp and deliciously executed between the actors, making the jokes hit their mark perfectly.
The most amazing aspect of Short Drop is how effective it was in making us care for characters who, on the surface, could be difficult to accept openly. From a “stush” outside woman, to a cross dresser to a gangster on the block – all characters are given a moment to shine their way into our hearts. At the centre of it all is old Bartholomew, very much able to stand his ground at the banter thrown at him, yet also an older, wiser voice of calming reason to a new generation of Trinis.
Ultimately, Short Drop reminds us that no matter whatever our background is, whatever our race or sexual orientation may be; we all share a common humanity. Everyone has a story to tell in this melting pot of an island. We are all brothers and sisters, bound together in the journey through life. I invite all Trinbagonians to jump into Bartholomew’s “ole car” for this short drop of a film. It is most definitely worth the ride.
Envoy: T&T Can Make Money from the Arts
A week before the national budget, and on Republic Day, on Sunday at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Port of Spain, two persons with experience working in, and with profitable creative industries internationally, clamoured for Trinidad and Tobago to tap its creative industries, as a low-hanging fruit, for economic diversification.
Costa Rican Ambassador to T&T Lilly Edgerton Picado said she finds T&T’s creative industries so enormous it is “mind-blowing”. She was sharing tips at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) event at the 2017 Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival, on what T&T could do to make money from its creative industries, based on her experience in her own country.
Costa Rica was one of the countries featured in the August-released IDB paper “The Orange Economy”. The “orange economy” covers the creative industries, including the arts.